Grandparents’ Rights After Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina


When couples with children get divorced, questions of custody and visitation become paramount. However, what often doesn’t get discussed is the reality that divorce can upend whole family structures. Grandparents who have a strong relationship with their grandchildren may be wondering what their visitation rights might be. In some cases, grandparents may wonder whether they have the right to seek custody of the children, especially in cases where the grandparents fear for the children’s safety or wellbeing. What are grandparents’ rights in Greenville, South Carolina?

According to the South Carolina Bar, parental rights supersede the rights of the grandparent. This means that when it comes to court rulings, the court will determine visitation and custody for the parents of the child, and not the grandparents. Grandparents’ rights derive from the parent of the child. This means that when your child has custody of the children, grandparents can ask their children to have visitation during this time. Ultimately, the courts protect a parent’s right to make decisions for his or her children, and this means that it is up to your children to let you have visitation time with your grandchildren. When it comes to visitation rights for grandparents, the first person to speak to is your child, the parent of your grandchildren.

But what happens if your child is denying you visitation? What happens if your child passed away and the mother or father of your grandchild is denying you visitation? What happens if you are concerned for the safety of your grandchild while he or she is in the custody of your child? The courts offer special provisions for grandparents in these circumstances. If you are concerned about your grandchildren’s safety, want to seek custody of your grandchildren, or feel like it is appropriate to petition the court for visitation rights, consider speaking to the divorce lawyers at the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC in Greenville, South Carolina today. Our attorneys can review your situation and help you understand what remedies might be available to you. can connect you with the Hayes Law Firm today.

How Grandparents Can Petition the Court for Visitation Rights in South Carolina

The courts grant grandparents the right to petition for visitation rights in certain circumstances. Several things must be true in order for a grandparent to seek visitation through the courts:

  1. The parent of the grandchild is depriving the grandparent of visitation.
  2. Or, the grandparent is concerned for the well-being of the child and is thus seeking custody and/or visitation.
  3. Or, the child’s parent has passed away, and the grandparent is seeking visitation, but the child’s custodial parent isn’t granting visitation.

In these instances, the court may be willing to review a grandparent’s case for visitation, but it is important to understand that these cases are often handled on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, the court will rule in favor of the best interests of the child. In general, the courts tend to grant parents the right to make decisions for their children and the grandparent may need to show that depriving the child of visitation with the grandparent can cause the child great emotional or psychological harm.

Another situation where the grandparents might be able to seek visitation rights is if one of the grandchild’s parents pass away, and the other parent denies the grandparent visitation rights. Generally, the grandparent will need to show the court that the child’s custodial parent has denied visitation for a period longer than 90 days and show that the grandparent had a close relationship to the child (a bond like parent and child). While the courts again tend to rule in favor of a parent’s right to make decisions about who his or her child can and cannot see, there are circumstances where the court may determine that the parent is interfering with the child’s relationship with a significant caretaker.

If you are a grandparent who has been denied visitation rights to your grandchildren in Greenville, South Carolina, you may have certain rights under the law. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC is Greenville, South Carolina divorce lawyers who may be able to assist you with taking your case to court to pursue visitation. In some cases, our firm may also be able to work with the child’s parents to grant visitation to the grandparent through mediation.

What is a Psychological Parent?

South Carolina courts also acknowledge the idea of a psychological parent. Grandparents sometimes play the role of psychological parents to their grandchildren, especially when the child’s parents are absent or are emotionally unavailable due to illness or other issues. If you, as a grandparent, formed a parent-child relationship with your grandchild, lived together in the same house with your grandchild, took care of your grandchild, including feeding, clothing, education, and play, and have played this role for a significant enough period of time, you might be considered a psychological parent by the court, and therefore may have the right to seek custody or visitation rights. Have questions about grandparents’ rights and custody in South Carolina? Contact the divorce lawyers at the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC in Greenville, South Carolina today.

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